Nunnery Bridge and Ballure Bridge


Nunnery Bridge and Ballure Bridge are two iconic structures in the Isle of Man, each with its own historical significance and engineering challenges. Both projects represent significant achievements in engineering and preservation. The successful completion of the refurbishment works on Nunnery Bridge and structural repairs on Ballure Bridge not only ensured the safety of the railway but also the longevity of these historic structures.

Nunnery Bridge supports the Steam Railway and footpath, spanning the river Douglas in the Isle of Man. The bridge is constructed in two forms. The main section is a bespoke half through steel truss, with a span of 26m, erected to replace the existing bridge in the 1970’s. The shorter span over the footpath is believed to be the original structure, constructed in the 1870’s and is a simpler girder and cross beam structure.

The bridge was surveyed, and a structural model assessed. A full refurbishment of the bridge was undertaken at the end of 2018.

Burroughs produced a design and package of works to refurbish the structure. Proposals included an upgrade to the existing track supports across the bridge to reduce future maintenance requirements and an enhanced alignment. The scope of works included relaying 300m of the track adjacent to the structure, fencing to prevent trespass, riverbank stabilisation and tree removal immediately adjacent to the structure.

Ballure Bridge carries the Manx Electric Railway over Ballure Glen, Isle of Man, spanning some 50m in total. The bridge was constructed in 1899 using wrought iron and Bessemer steel. In 2010 a Principal Inspection was carried out by Burroughs which identified a total failure of the coating and significant section loss.

Burroughs identified the repairs necessary and working closely with the Client, developed new bespoke track support systems and specification aimed to adequately repair the structure and reduce the future maintenance requirements. The scheme as a whole represents a significant reduction in terms of overall maintenance cost.

This was a highly successful scheme, completed on programme and within budget. Subsequently, the scheme has received awards for Best Project of the Year from both the Light Rail Industry and the Institute of Civil Engineers (North West region).

Client / Project TEam

Isle of Man Government Department of Infrastructure